After a series of planning twists and turns, the fate of a historic Herefordshire pub has been decided: the three-storey, grade II listed Crown & Sceptre Inn is set to become a five-bedroom home. Located in Bromyard's conservation area, the iconic establishment has remained closed since 2019.

Jude Kennefick, the driving force behind the ambitious conversion project, has had to navigate a complex planning journey. After his initial proposal in mid-2020 was turned down by Herefordshire Council in February 2021 and then by a planning inspector in the summer, he had to adjust his strategy.

Ironically, the contentious sticking point wasn't about the change of the establishment from a pub to a house. In fact, Planning Inspector Gareth Thomas agreed with Mr Kennefick that the conversion wouldn't result in the loss of a community facility. The real challenge arose over environmental concerns. Thomas ruled that increased wastewater from the building's proposed use could harm the river Lugg's special conservation area, a scenario the environmental regulations wouldn't permit.

Undeterred, Mr Kennefick submitted a revised proposal in July 2021, featuring an overhauled drainage strategy and a detailed "nutrient budget calculation". The changes seemed to have done the trick. Last month, Fran Lancaster, the council’s principal natural environment officer, gave her approval, noting that the plan "will result in a betterment over the historic use of the site".

Subsequently, planning permission was granted for the transformation of the beloved pub into a private residence. This new development comes after an earlier plan to convert the pub into three one-bedroom flats, demolish the rear function room, and build four additional flats on the grounds received approval in July 2018 but was never carried out. The Crown & Sceptre Inn is now set to begin its new chapter as a residential property.